From the start of February, changes were seen to Consumer Directed Care with the introduction of the of Increasing Choice in Home Care measure.

This meant that 80,000 home care packages went from provider-controlled to consumer-controlled, and that people who have, or are eligible for, Home Care Packages will now be able to choose which organisation will provide the services for them.

This was a big change for consumers of home care services, but interestingly many were not aware of what it meant for them.

From an investigation conducted by Aged Care Report Card, it was seen that only 68% of people asked were aware that these changes were coming, and that most were not aware of the details of the changes and how it would affect them, their loved ones or their clients.

The most important change that was being introduced was that consumers could choose their home care provider – a fact that only 47% of the respondents knew.

Consumers are now able to change their provider whenever they choose for whatever reason, for example if they move or if their care needs are unfulfilled, and take with them whatever remaining funds they have to the new provider.

This measure has been a positive move for home care as Consumer Directed Care not only ensures that the industry is consumer-driven, but that it is also market based and less regulated.

It is expected that people who are receive home care packages will be more involved with the distribution of their funds and have more regular contact with their provider.

The home care package reform were first announced in July, two years ago. And in the weeks coming up to the February changes, the Increasing Choice in Home Care measure was publicised on the Government’s Department of Health website as well as various industry based publications.

As something that affected tens of thousands of people, how did only a few of them know what was happening? It is beneficial for most people that the Government are taking action and helping older people, but what use is it if people aren’t aware of the opportunities that they have been given?

It’s been a month since the new measure has been implemented, and though it may be too early to tell overall, what improvements have you seen for you or someone you know using home care services?

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